Printing the Northland Age, 1962

Many thanks to Graeme How, from New Zealand for sending in this illustrated article.

Printing the Northland Age

Machinery In The Modern Printing Plant of the ‘Northland Age’ –

TOP left: The Klischograph Photo Engraving Machine. This machine played a big
part in the engraving of blocks for this magazine. Right: The Leitz Enlarger in our
modern photographic department. LOWER right: 2 typesetting machines. Left:
The thirteen and a half ton Cossar printing machine on which the Northland Age is
printed twice weekly. BOTTOM left: One of our Heidelberg letterpress machines
used for the many printing jobs required in your business – letterheads,
statements, docket books, wedding invites, catalogues etc.

Printing the Northland Age

Top left: Trimming paper on the guillotine. Top right: Keeping the accounts straight.
Centre: The Linotype machines. Bottom left: A printing machine for small work.
Bottom right: The machine which prints ‘The Northlander.’

Left Panel reads: We Are Printers of Everything. Right Panel: Let The News Do That Next Job.
Centre Panel:
“The News” Printing Department has the machines, and men to look after all your
printing requirements. It costs nothing to get a quote.

Box 1 KAIKOHE Phone 321
“The Northlander” was printed in Kaikohe by “The News”

Rochester, NY Newspapers

Many thanks to Bill Westland for sending in these great photographs. They were taken at the Rochester Times-Union and Rochester Democrat and Chronicle newspapers before computerisation.

Linotype operator wearing shirt and tie

A well-dressed Linotype operator

Bank of Linotypes, with a female operator in the background

Bank of Linotypes, with a female operator in the background

Another well-dressed operator with visor and cigar

Another well-dressed operator with visor and cigar

Close-up of copy and keyboard

Close-up of copy and keyboard

Operator having a smoke

Operator having a smoke

A bank of linecasters

A bank of linecasters

Between editions

Between editions

Between editions

Linecaster with guards

A quiet corner

A quiet corner

Democrat and Chronicle article with a photo of Bill himself!

Democrat and Chronicle article with a photo of Bill himself!

Women Linotype operators and a proofreader

Women Linotype operators and a proofreader

A Ludlow Typograph

A Ludlow Typograph

More Ludlow action

More Ludlow action

Ad makeup. My father at left.

Ad makeup. My father at left.

Page make-up

Page make-up

First computer system to convert

First computer system to convert “idiot” TTS tape into justified tape for Linotype Electrons

A Linotype Elektron

A Linotype Elektron

Elrod material caster

Elrod material caster


Stereotype “mat roller”

Hand type cabinet

Hand type cabinet

Tools I took home: Page chase, pica gauge, type stick, chase crank, Xacto knife, chicken pluckers and makeup tools

Tools I took home: Page chase, pica gauge, type stick, chase crank, Xacto knife, chicken pluckers and makeup tools

Slug cutter

Slug cutter

Various galleys

Various galleys

Page chase

Page chase

Pages from a Font book used for character count for ad markup

Pages from a Font book used for character count for ad markup

Pages from a Font book used for character count for ad markup

Further Reading

Check the “Related Pages” menu for details and pictures of Neotype linecasters.

Information about Russian linecasting machines is pretty scarce on the internet, but the Metal Type Forum has some real gems.

Linotypes in Mongolia

The thread Linotypes in Mongolia has a number of pictures of Russian machines in action, including this one, dated 1959 showing what appears to be a model 144.

Russian Linotype Video

This thread: Russian Linotype Video shows a Russian linecaster in action, including some kind of “splash guard” mechanism.

Neotype Trade Exhibition

This thread: Jim King R.I.P. – Photo Memorial – Help Needed shows photographs taken by late Forum member Jim King, including this trade exhibition photo and some others, including an experimental Russian machine in use at the “Pravda” newspaper.

Follow-up discussion about the Neotype machines page can be found here: Russian linecasters

Neotype Linecasters

Check the “Related Pages” menu for further reading on Russian linecasters.

The following pictures and descriptions come from an un-dated glossy brochure produced by Neotype, West Germany.

The Compact Series

Function and reliability of a good typesetting machine are dependent on construction and design.

Neotype typesetting machines have been built by Europe’s largest typesetting machine manufacturer  over a period of 40 years. They are in operation throughout 70 countries under the most different working conditions.

Neotype typesetting machines are the result of a successful, constructive design, guaranteeing easy operation, a maximum of operational safety, problemless maintenance, reliability and a first class setting performance. In addition, Neotype typesetting machines are designed so as to permit the use of magazines and matrices of all makes on the market.

Neotype typesetting machines offer compact advantages: a clear design, reduced floor space requirements, easy access to all movable parts, reduced maintenance requirements and economical operation. The cost-performance ratio is such that any printer can afford it. Neotype typesetting machines are suitably fitted in their own assembly plant in Cologne according to the specific wishes of the clients and in line with the requirements of world markets.

Guarantee for a Maximum of Setting Performance

The Clutch. The clutch is very handy for the composer. In case of eventual breakdown easy operation with the hand-wheel turns it back to neutral position. No problems at all.

The assembling elevator. The assembling elevator goes automatically upwards as soon as the key is pressed down. The line is sent off or the blank line is already casted (H121, H122, H124).

The mould wheel. Change of size takes 35 seconds. Four universal moulds are available. Recess moulds with 12, 16 and 20 points. The combined air and water cooling system keeps the operation temperature constant and prevents from corrosion.

Magazine position. Inclination angle of the magazines is 67 degrees. The resulting high falling speed makes for a high setting performance (H121, H122, H124).

The quadding and centering decice. STAR-PARTS quadding and centering device. This combination of hydraulics and electro-magnets guarantees a minimum of maintenance and wear.

The front-plate frame. Matrices are liable to jamming.  On the Neotype machine you only need to swing down the sheet covers. Then the magazine outlet and the assembler friction lie open in front of the composer. The front-plate frame can also be swung out, giving access to the bar frame.

The curve eccentric. The compact design is not only space saving. The Neotype machine is provided with one single justification lever. This means there are two curves less needing maintenance and care.

The switch board. The electronic part is uncomplicated and robust, guaranteeing correct function and correct transmission of all orders that are received from the keyboard (H140).

The maintenance service. All protection devices of the Neotype machine can be opened without difficulty. The entire mechanical system is easily accessible.

Magazine reversal. By pressing down a lever, the magazine moves hydraulically into position. Furthermore, a safety rail prevents the magazines from moving in case of jamming (H124).

The assembler. Fluent operation due to the non-stop assembler, the electro-magnets used for the switch-over into the medium faced position and the low maintenance requirements of the nylon gear wheel and disks. Guarantee to resist highest strain (H140).

The elevator. One single lever is used for transporting the matrices on the rack bar of the second elevator, moving subsequently the keys into the key-box.

Magazine adjustment. Sometimes magazines may get out of position. On the Neotype machine it is  possible to adjust them in horizontal and vertical direction. Furthermore: the magazine is provided with a safety-rack disengaging immediately the distributor spindle whenever the matrices fall down in a transverse or bevel position. (H121, H122, H124, H140).

Neotype H12

Neotype H12 Russian linecasting typesetting machine

Two-magazine typesetting machine. 4 universal casting moulds point size from 6 to 12 points. Small magazines, with 15 matrices per channel, only upon special request, recess moulds point size from 10 to 12 points. Slug up to 28 Cicero. Upon request combined air-water cooling system and STAR-PARTS quadding and centering device.

Performance: 7 slugs per minute. Weight 950kg. 1.170mm wide, 1.300mm deep, 1.700mm high.

Neotype H121

Neotype H121 Russian linecasting typesetting machine

Single-magazine typesetting machine. 4 universal casting moulds. Point size from 6 to 12 points. Upon special request fitted out with 16 points and recess mould. Point size from 10 to 16 points. Slug up to 28 Cicero. Combined air-water cooling system. STAR-PARTS quadding and centering device.

Performance: 9 slugs per minute. Weight 1,400kg. 1.360mm wide, 1.270mm deep, 2.100mm high.

Neotype H122

Neotype H122 Russian linecasting typesetting machine

A two-magazine typesetting machine. 4 universal casting moulds. Point size from 6 to 12 points. Upon special request fitted out with 16 points and recess mould. Point size from 10 to 16 points. Slug up to 28 Cicero. Combined  air-water cooling system. STAR-PARTS quadding and centering device.

Performance: 9 slugs per minute. Weight 1,200kg. 1.360mm wide, 1.270mm deep, 2.100mm high.

Neotype H124

Neotype H124 Russian linecasting typesetting machine

Four-magazine typesetting machine. 4 universal casting moulds. Type size from 6 to 12 points. Upon special request fitted out with 16 points and recess mould. Type size from 10 to 16 points. Slug up to 28 Cicero. Combined air-water cooling system. STAR-PARTS quadding and centering device.

Performance: 9 slugs per minute. Weight 1,400kg. 1.360mm wide, 1.270mm deep, 2.100mm high.

Neotype H140

Neotype H140 Russian linecasting typesetting machine

A four-magazine typesetting machine, prepared for TTS. 4 universal casting moulds. Point size from 6 to 20 points. Upon special request point size up to 24 points with recess mould. 12 to 24 point size. Slug up to 28 Cicero. Combined air-water cooling system. STAR-PARTS quadding and centering device.

Performance: 11 slugs per minute. Weight 1,900kg. 1.900mm wide, 1.750mm deep, 2.200mm high. STAR-PARTS Auto-Setter.

Neotype L136

Neotype L32 Russian strip casting machine

Slug and lead casting machine. Point size: Leads 1 to 16 points; Slugs 2 to 24 points; Webs 24 to 36 points. Length up to 150 Cicero. Performance p/h: Depending on point size up to 25kg. Water cooling system. Exchangeable casting moulds, adjustable web length, automatic cutting device, electronic temperature regulator. Maximum advance movement 8 Cicero, minimum advance movement about 1 Cicero.



This is a small part of the Metal Type Library. The rest can be found using the “Related Pages” menu.

Search our collection of PDFs using the box below:

Linecaster fan? Make contact with others worldwide on the Metal Type Forum: Linotype Chat or Intertype Chat.

Taking Care of Your Intertype

Searchable PDF giving detailed instructions on maintaining an Intertype, including oiling diagrams. Sent in by John Nixon. (3 MB).

Thompson Typecaster Instruction Manual

Nice 40-page instruction booklet for this machine, signed by Sem Hartz. (8 MB).

Intertype Instruction Manual (1929)

“The Intertype, Its Function, Care, Operation and Adjustment”, by MacD Sinclair, with the collaboration of the engineering staff of the Intertype Corporation. From the collection of the Prelinger Library. All 450 pages. (58MB PDF).

Align-A-Mat Instructions (Fisk Industries)

8-page instruction book for this Linotype/Intertype matrix repair tool. (3.5 MB PDF).

Linotype Line c1960 Advertising Brochure

Interesting document, published by Linotype probably around 1960, advertising their current range of machines. Includes Comet, Meteor Model 5, Blue Streak Model 29, New Model 31, The Linofilm System, Model 33 and 34, Model 35 and 36. 14 (double) pages. (22.3MB PDF).

Erection Procedure for Blue Streak Model 5 Linotype

Detailed instructions on how to erect this machine, with floor plan. 17 pages. (20.9MB PDF).

Intertype Ready-Reckoner

An easy copy-fitting method. The character count method. 23 pages. (8.99MB PDF).

Intertype Matrix Identification

Numerical listing of type faces by font numbers. 40 pages. (28.4MB PDF).

Erection Prodedure for Model 31 Linotype

35 pages, published by Linotype, explaining how to erect a Model 31 Blue Streak Linotype after delivery in boxes from the factory. Sent in by David MacMillan. (21 MB PDF).

Model M Ludlow Instructions and Parts List

55 pages, illustations, maintenance, adjustments, wiring diagrams and parts list in PDF format. Sent in by David MacMillan. (18 MB).

Ludlow Model M Brochure, c.1960s

Nice advertising brochure, with many illustrations, sent in by David MacMillan. (3.33MB PDF).

Ruleform Composition with the Ludlow

Illustrated 6-page brochure showing the advantages of using Ludlow Ruleform matrices, sent in by David MacMillan. (2.05MB).

Ludlow Self-Centering Stick Instructions

A single, fairly high-resolution stick-sized JPEG, detailing how to use the Ludlow self-centering composition stick, sent in by David MacMillan. (324KB JPG).

Useful Matrix Information

Published by the Linotype Corporation in 1937. Useful information, including notches, tooth combinations, face identification numbers, suggested font schemes, accented characters, keyboard diagrams, All-Purpose Linotype matrix information, typographic refinements, etc. PDF format. Sent in by Andy Taylor of AJT Typesetting and Printing. (3.41MB).

The New Linotype

An 8-page document, probably from the early 1900s, extolling the virtues of the new Linotype over the previous “Blower” machines. Sent in by Andy Taylor of AJT Typesetting and Printing. PDF format (1.5 MB).

Ludlow Supersurfacer

Instructions and parts list, 17 pages, with some illustrations. PDF format (1 MB).

Monotype Model D Keyboard Instructions

French Language. Operator’s instruction manual. 110 pages. PDF format (9.18MB).

Interype Quadder

12-page advertising brochure for the Intertype Quadder, with some nice illustrations. PDF format (2.74MB).

The Intertype Autospacer

Functions, care, operation and adjustment. 24 pages, illustrated. PDF format (555KB).

Typofix Type Caster

A four page instruction manual in PDF format (264KB).

Shaffstall Transistor Mat Detector

72-page instruction manual and fault-finding guide, with illustrations for this device that was used on high-speed tape-operated linecasters. PDF format ( 93 MB). The Patent Application for this device is also available to download. PDF format, 10 pages (2.6MB).

Linecaster fan? Make contact with others worldwide on the Metal Type Forum: Linotype Chat or Intertype Chat.


Linotype Universa

“The latest development in the field of modern setting machine technology” is the heading on the cover of the leaflet promoting the Universa linecaster, one of the very few such machines to be built incorporating a bank of six magazines and which was the impressive leader in the range of “New Line” machines produced during the 1960s by Mergenthaler Linotype GmbH of Frankfurt.

Fanning magazines

As this 3000kg giant was intended only for manual operation, its casting speed was 8 to 12 lines per minute, and it could be fitted with a mixture of split 72- and 90-channel magazines in various combinations (three of each; two 90s/four 72s; one 90/five 72s, etc) as circumstances demanded. The keyboard automatically adjusted itself according to which type of magazine was in use. Elevation and fanning of the magazines was an electrohydraulic operation to facilitate the mixing operation from four adjacent magazines.

Imagine what a variety of setting could be undertaken when being given the chance to mix from four magazines and a range of type sizes from 6pt to 42pt or even 48pt (cast overhanging on a 42pt slug): the mind boggles! German Linotype even offered several 16pt and 20pt faces such as Times and Helvetica, and to cast on both alignments it was necessary for the machine to be fitted with a special 16–20pt mould so that these useful “in between” sizes could be brought into play. (In America, Linotype had a few 16pt faces available but these were made as single-letter mats due to the difficulties in casting from the auxiliary alignment. Intertype did a bit better: they offered a few double-letter 16pt faces and a mould to suit.) Distribution was dealt with through five sets of distributor screws (though the top set was only long enough to clear the first distributor box and pie shute).

Mould wheel

The mould wheel contained six pockets and could cast from 6pt to 42pt up to a measure of 28 Cicero (30ems), which was the longest length that could be accommodated on a six-pocket mould wheel. Hydraquadder and Mohr saw came as standard fitments and would be essential in view of the extremely varied range of work that this Lino could undertake. Push-button control for the quadder, mould wheel and magazines was provided above the keyboard.

For the first time since we looked at the Delta machine the operator has a normal hand-lifting mechanism for the assembling elevator, rather than the push-button control on all the other machines, and it’s useful also to point out how the side-case matrices were accommodated in six neat drawer compartments located to the right of the keyboard, just below the array of operating buttons, warning lights and temperature gauge which one imagines would be an ever-changing wonder when the beast was operating!

I am bound to wonder if the operator’s attention would sometimes be distracted by the sight of mats as they emerged from the magazine and were then very visible as they dropped on to the assembler belt. English Linotype developed what it called its “optic-aid” front plate which hid all this activity from the operator’s peripheral field of vision. I think the cascade of mats would have distracted me!

Side view

What a machine, and it is pleasing to know that one is preserved in working order at the Haus für Industriekultur in Darmstadt in Germany alongside other “New Line” machines, plus a vast range of other Linotypes, Intertypes and Neotypes in addition to single-letter casting machines and much else of interest to students of typecasting in its many different forms.

This monster was surely an impressive end to linecaster development not only in Germany but in the entire world. It would be interesting to learn how many were actually sold, as the price must have been high, and the fact that the Universa arrived very late in the day for hot metal setting would also act against its widespread use. Did the Russians copy it? Not that I am aware—but should anyone know otherwise, Metal Type would be very interested to hear from them!


Linotype Continenta

The Continenta could be had as a manually-operated machine offering 28/34/42 Cicero line widths (30/36/42em equivalents) or as a tape-operated version able to cast at speeds of 10 to 15 lines per minute. Weight: 1850kg.

It was a two-magazine mixer utilising standard 90-channel magazines and had a mould wheel with four water-cooled moulds. Hydraquadder and Mohr saw could be added as extras to the basic specification and the machine shown in the colour illustration is thus equipped.

Obviously intended as a high-speed basic text setter when running on tape, the addition of mixing capability offered the useful additional capability of setting classified advertising in small text sizes with semi-display lines being able to be introduced—say 5½pt/12pt. German Linotype had introduced many imaginative computer programs allowing such operations to be carried out using such a machine.

Linotype Continenta (side view)


A Linotype Europa
There were two versions of this design, the original and the Europa G Quick, both of which were designed principally for high-speed tape operation but which could also be used manually.

As regards the first-mentioned, it was a four-magazine mixer weighing-in at 2000kg equipped with four water-cooled 28 Cicero (30em) moulds, with provision for extension to 34 Cicero (36em) operation. Magazines were 90-channel configuration. Hydraquadder and Mohr saw could be had as extras and  the remarks previously given regarding provision of these features applies again.

Linotype Europa from the rear

German Linotype described it as “the star machine for difficult composition tasks”, and who is to argue with that? Speed range was from 8 to 14 lines per minute, and it must be fascinating to watch such a machine in operation mixing from all four magazines on a continuous basis, for which there were five sets of distributor screws—although the top one, having performed its work fairly quickly, did not run the full width, as can be seen in the illustration showing the back of the machine, where it will be seen that the pie shute starts its descent only about a third of the way across the width of the magazines. Also of note in this picture are the free-standing lower steps which don’t look very secure (one hopes they were attached to the main frame by some means). The TTS operating unit is on the extreme left.

Europa G

Similar in many respects to its predecessor with one important difference—it could use a combination of 70-channel and 90-channel magazines in various combinations so that a comprehensive range of straight text and heading work could be produced at high-speed.

Normally linecasters setting 18pt and 24pt faces were equipped with 72-channel magazines, so the 70-channel configuration on this machine was unusual and may have been designed to widen some of the channels to accommodate full-width capitals such as M and W which may have been too wide for a 72-channel magazine: thus it was possible to accommodate such faces, as well as condensed faces up to 36pt. The keyboard automatically adjusted itself to react to which type of magazine was being used.

Also when running on tape the G was described as being fully automatic and able to alter which magazine was in use, change the mould wheel and the knifeblock settings—all features which would of course have been necessary when changing between, say, 6, 8 or 10pt text setting coupled with headings ranging from 16pt to 36pt. When running on tape it must have been a very exciting machine to see in action as it was doing all this stuff with no human intervention. No doubt the human monitor looking after several such machines all rattling away at 14 lines per minute would have been fully occupied in keeping them all in motion!


Linotype Quadriga

This machine was the German version of the English Model 79 or the American Comet—a high speed model capable of casting 15 newspaper-measure lines per minute when working on tape. It could also be operated manually, when the casting rate could be stepped-down to take account of the fact that not many operators were capable of working at such a high speed and thus there was no valid reason for the machine to be subjected to such wear and tear when there was no call for it. Slowest casting speed was 10 lines per minute.

Unlike its American and English forebears, the Quadriga was equipped with four 90-channel magazines and these were sloped at the steeper 54-degree angle common to all three machines, ensuring that the mats did not hang around once summoned from the keyboard. There was no mixing facility, as the machine was intended as a fast straight text-setter. Hydraquadder and Mohr saw were obtainable as extras; the former would be fairly essential in both manual and tape-operated state, whereas the saw would really only be needed if manual operation was envisaged. The knifeblock could deal with slugs up to 42pt, which again was a feature not needed if tape operation was chosen.

The weight was 2100kg. Four-pocket water-cooled mould wheel. As can be seen in the illustration, the tape-control operating unit was a neat self-contained independent unit named the Lino-Quick Setter which stood to the right of the machine and was connected to it by cable.